REQUESTS FOR HELP ROSE BY 13pc, AMOUNT BY 27pc LAST YEAR

THE Palma city council's social welfare department granted 1'385 requests for financial aid last year, 13 per cent more than the previous year. The aid totalled 236'117 euros, 27 per cent more than 2001. The figures were announced by councillor Antoni Nadal, who presented his department's annual report. Twenty-four per cent of the aid corresponded to outstanding rent, 23 per cent was for food and 20.5 per cent was aid to help people get back on their feet. Nadal stressed that the budget of his department had risen by more than 300 per cent since 1997, but the number of requests for aid has gone up by 447 per cent. Nadal said that the average amount of aid was 170 euros. He added that 725 families benefited from the aid, 21 per cent more than 2001. Nadal also reported that there had been an increase in requests for help from the Levante (East) district, but a drop in requests from the old part of the city. He attributed this to the extensive refurbishment the council has carried out in the Sa Gerreria district (behind Calle Sindicato). This, he said, showed the need to keep working on this type of reform in other areas of the city. At the same press conference, Nadal presented the report on home help provided by his department. This includes a meals on wheels and a tele alarm service. Nadal said that the chief purpose of these services was to help elderly people with financial problems, or who had difficulty in looking after themselves. Profile of beneficiaries is female and over the age of 80 It meant that they could receive help “without having to move out of their district or home.” The number of people who benefited from the meals on wheels service last year was 516, which was 43 per cent more than in 2001. Seventy-one per cent of the beneficiaries were women, and 45 per cent were over the age of 80, and all had an income which was less than the minimum wage. Commenting on the tele alarm service, which provides direct access to aid services in an emergency, Nadal said 584 people benefited last year, and their profile was similar to that of the users of the meals on wheels service. Ninety-one per cent were women and 49 per cent were over the age of 80.

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